Thursday, September 17, 2015

Draining The Swamp

"The fate of Assad for us is nothing compared to the fate of Syria the country, the people and the children. At this moment while we are talking, a Syrian is being killed. We need a solution by any means to stop the fighting."
"[The solution] might not suit me or many other people, but it's not for me or for this or that person. It's for Syria."
Dr. Adnan Tobaji, Douma, Syria
Syrians amid the rubble of buildings destroyed by airstrikes in the rebel-held area of Douma, a suburb of Damascus. Credit Abd Doumany/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The regime of Syrian Alawite President Bashar al Assad has unleashed its ferocious and deadly campaign on the Sunni Syrians who dared confront him with a request for equality of all Syrians, not just the minority Shiites. Over four years of civil war the entire country's infrastructure is staggering. From the Damascus suburb of Douma to the northern city of Aleppo, neighbourhoods have been emptied of their civilian population.

Those that remain live ghastly lives of privation, and the fears of daily bombardments by their own government. In Douma the dawn call to prayer sees women and children silently walking to the fields outside Douma, hoping for safety from the bombings that will be certain to continue razing whatever is left of their neighbourhoods. These are the Syrians that remain where their homes were, in the hopes that the war will come to an end and all will be returned to what they remember.

For many, particularly the children, years of bombardments have left them in wearied grief and overwhelming fear. It isn't the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that they live in terror of, but their own government. In the past month government forces have launched vicious barrages more intense than has been the dismal norm. Airstrikes have complemented artillery shells. The original 500,000 inhabitants of Douma are a distant memory.

A wounded girl last month at a makeshift hospital in Douma. Credit Abd Doumany/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
In the past month alone, 550 people have died there, 123 of the dead were the children of Syria, according to Red Crescent medics. Each day during the month of August at least 150 trauma injuries were treated. The world looks on in disgust at the widely publicized horror exploits of ISIL, and considers in nervous trepidation what is yet to come as it widens its geographic scope, forgetting the barbarity that the Syrian regime is inflicting on its own.

Syrian civilian deaths are largely the result of Syrian  government forces assaulting their own. The Syrian Violations Documentation Centre states that 18,000 people were killed by airstrikes carried out by the government, with over 27,000 civilians dying in shelling and rocket fire that all sides are responsible for. In East Ghouta towns around Damascus, 450 civilians died. Government blockades permit neither ingress nor egress for civilians trapped in their neighbourhoods.

All of which explains why it is that the desperate displaced go to live in miserable refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypr and now travel to Europe. And while Russia is set to intervene on the part of Syria's deadly regime, to fight alongside Hezbollah, Iran and the Syrian military to destroy ISIL, who will destroy the Syrian regime's ongoing destruction of the country and its people?

A man with a child who survived airstrikes in Douma on Aug. 30. More than 550 people, mostly civilians, have died in the past month in Douma and nearby suburbs, 123 of them children, Red Crescent medics say. Credit Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

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